Saturday, December 19, 2009

Copouthagen

An unmitigated failure. A non-binding agreement, with voluntarily contributions, means there is no agreement, there is no target, there is nothing except pretty words that give politicians something to latch onto, as though significant. About the only "success" one could point towards, the trillion dollar fund to help developing countries deal with international inaction. It all congeals into a global submission, more dealing with the after effects, than managing the source.

The news is worse for Canada. Not only did we fail to actively engage in Copenhagen, but we've gone a step further, ceding our national sovereignty, as well as fostering national disunity. In the absence of a national plan, this vacuum has been filled by provinces, creating a disjointed, friction filled environment that threatens to harm the federation. Premiers can snipe back and forth, but the responsibility for disccord rests with the federal Conservatives, who have failed to provide the most basic leadership, who have laid the foundation for fractured federalism. The situation stands to worsen, with our new policy of waiting for Washington, while we do essentially nothing. I suspect certain regions will plow ahead unilaterally, which means the chasm becomes that much more pronounced, as the years march on.

Step back and think about what Harper is saying. Canada will sit on the sidelines and wait for Washington to tell us our policy. Astounding. Maybe more amazing, the Conservatives seem to think that is entirely acceptable and "shrewd". Canada has no international role, it is merely a mirror of American policy, a policy nobody knows what form it will take or WHEN it will be delivered. At the earliest, it's a couple more years of nothingness, it's a complete unknown. Conservatives love to wave the flag, they strangely seize patriotism as their sole domain, yet they will now remain utterly silent in the face of this glaring contradiction.

Harper was right to point out that our abscence from the table in Copenhagen was over-stated, we had "strategic partners" protecting our interests. There was no need for him to negotiate, because we have nothing to offer, the Americans speak for Canada- it's that simple, admitted and actually said with bravado.

Internally, Harper is endorsing further erosion on the federalism front. Externally, he is ceding our national standing, as a way to neutralize an issue he's never wanted to deal with. Harper is essentially undermining Canada at home and abroad. The legacy this position will leave, could possibly be a historical watershed, it's not just about the environment, this inaction has secondary ramifications.

The world did squat, but somehow Canada managed to do worse. Quite a feat.

11 comments:

Big Winnie said...

Another example of how Harper has changed this once great country. Other than photo ops, what the heck was Canada doing in Copouthagen?

Steve V said...

Confirming our irrelevance?

Big Winnie said...

Yes.

Omar said...

Yet, to his adoring minions, Harper is some kind of hero for apparently standing up to the world. It's both strange and embarrassing.

JimmE said...

Steve, your second-to-last paragraph really hits the nail on the head. We have a PM who fundamentally does not believe in a roll for the Federal Government other than as the employer of Army men. A disingenuous individual who does not have the courage to deliver this message to Canadians. At least Joe Clark had the sand to say he wanted a "community of communities". The present PM wants this too, & knows that Canadians don't want this- but he will continue to break the Nation so that is what we end up with.

rockfish said...

"Harper was right to point out that our abscence from the table in Copenhagen was over-stated, we had "strategic partners" protecting our interests.

Both the US and China proved to be ample dance partners with no-leader Harper. His faux-position now sits squarely with another government's action, while his own resolute ambivalence in the area of climate change is empowered by China's resolute stubbornness.
Harper - following the worst of the worst.
Of course, with cancer rates skyrocketing in northern Alberta, perhaps he's eyeing a 'sexy opportunity' for more NEP bashing in the future.

farwestie said...

Excellent post, farandwide, thanks. It leaves me with the realization that what we need to do now is BRING BACK DION!
Dion has Harper's number and he's fearless. He also has the vision we say we want, but were too deluded by CON propaganda to support when we had the chance. Can't we at least get him back in the shadow cabinet's environment portfolio?

lma1 said...

But we weren't irrelevant in Copouthagen. We won the Colossal Fossil Award! Credit where credit is due.

Agreed, Farwestie, BRING BACK DION! We need his passion.

The Rational Number said...

@farwestie: I'm a fan of Dion, and I hope he has a role somewhere. I thought he was a good leader, but so much a politician (and Harper the opposite). I think too many people get those mixed up.

Marpman said...

What makes me chuckle is that exactly the qualities we need in a leader for our presence on the international stage, or those qualities that Ignatieff is critized for.
Please...leave Dione to assisting...we need to be moving forward, not backwards.

900ft Jesus said...

very good post.

I got the sense that this summit brought people closer to the realization of what a monumental crisis this is but still don't grasp that they need to set aside politics and self-interest, so they made up that last minute bull shit non-binding agreement simply to appease the people they had to go home to - and keep down panic.

As for the photo ops, pretty sick. Five pictures on the PMO site (photo link on left side). Two of Harper with Prentice, a ridiculous, pathetic one of him snatching a handshake, reaching over like he caught Obama off guard.